A part-time East Hampton resident is on the lam from Federal investigators, who say the bank executive and antiques-store owner embezzled as much as $73 million through bogus loans.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were in East Hampton last week trying to track down Ricardo S. Carrasco, who owns the Stone Road antiques store in Wainscott and has a house on Springwood Way, East Hampton.
Mr. Carrasco disappeared in mid-February after officials at BankBoston's New York City office attempted to question him about the suspicious loans. Mr. Carrasco, 42, is a high-ranking executive at the bank.
Since his disappearance, the F.B.I. has charged him with embezzling $5 million from the bank. Bank records, however, show as much as $73 million in questionable loans between last August and October, all of them linked to Mr. Carrasco's clients.
Mr. Carrasco headed BankBoston's international lending department, catering to wealthy foreign clients, including some in Central America.
According to The Boston Globe, which has been following the story, the F.B.I. found three loans in which Mr. Carrasco generated fake collateral to win approval for loans to his clients. The bank is still trying to determine if the money from those loans, and the remaining ones, ever made it to the clients.
Searching the executive's loft apartment in Manhattan's East Village last month, the F.B.I. found signs of a hasty departure. The bureau has been actively hunting for Mr. Carrasco, fearing he may leave the country. He is a citizen of Uruguay.
Joseph Valiquette, an F.B.I. spokesman, said there were no breaks in the case as of this week. "There's nothing new," he said. "He's still a Federal fugitive."
Mr. Carrasco faces two violations of Federal banking laws, said Mr. Valiquette: "making false entries into bank records" and "fraudulently using someone else's collateral to obtain loans."
If convicted on those counts, he faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
East Hampton Town police assisted F.B.I. agents two weeks ago in tracking down Mr. Carrasco's acquaintances here who might have a lead on his whereabouts.
"They were out here, and we assisted them in their investigation," said Capt. Todd Sarris, "but we have no reason to believe he is in the area."
Agents came here on a tip that the man had been seen around town the weekend before. Captain Sarris said town officers and F.B.I. agents went to Mr. Carrasco's house and spoke to a female occupant, who said she had neither seen nor heard from him.
Police did not specify her relationship, if any, to the executive.
Mr. Valiquette said Mr. Carrasco, who has lived in the United States since 1988, had no wife or family here. The Boston Globe reported that he began working for BankBoston in Uruguay in 1977 and rose through the ranks through a series of promotions.
Mr. Carrasco rented the Stone Road building, on Montauk Highway, from Robert Dann, a retired Sag Harbor lawyer. A spokeswoman for the landlord who did not identify herself was surprised when informed of the tenant's trouble with the law.
"This is a shock," she said, adding Mr. Carrasco had always been a trouble-free tenant: "He's been very faithful in paying the rent. He's always been very polite. He had a very lovely woman with him there at first, but she went back to California."
Karen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for BankBoston, said, "There is a reasonably high degree of disappointment here. You feel let down when someone who is a senior manager [appears to do] something like this."
"It's fair to say that when you have a senior manager who works for you for 20 years, you develop a sense of trust."
How the fraudulent loans will affect the bank's bottom line is uncertain.
"First, we're ascertaining the collectibility of the loans," said Ms. Schwartzman, "and beyond that . . . we can seek to reclaim some of it from our fidelity bond."
Banks carry fidelity bonds as a form of insurance to protect against employee fraud.